Intended for healthcare professionals


US Democrats work to reconcile two health reform bills

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 11 January 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c173
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. 1New York

    US Democrats face several obstacles as they work to merge the two different health reform bills passed by the House of Representatives in November and by the Senate on Christmas Eve.

    The first obstacle is holding together their 60-40 majority in the Senate over the Republicans, who want to defeat the health reform bills. The Democrats must hold on to their 60 votes (by 58 Democrats and two independents who vote with them), or the Republicans can defeat the merged health reform bill by filibuster—talking the bill to death. The Democrats have a wider safety margin in the House.

    The usual way to reconcile two different bills is by a joint House-Senate conference committee. However, because Republicans uniformly oppose the health reform bills, that approach would give them …

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